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There’s a suspected new dog virus in the area, but vets say don’t panic

It’s treatable with supportive medicine, and there have been no serious cases.
Published: Jul. 28, 2021 at 5:10 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - Vets around the area have been treating a virus in an increasing number of dogs this summer. There’s no definitive answer as to exactly what the virus is, but a number of doggy daycare facilities and kennels are taking extra precautions. Experts say you should be informed, but not alarmed.

Dr. Anne Bergstrom of West Toledo Animal Hospital says it’s causing upper respiratory issues, along with some gastrointestinal side effects in some cases. “At this point it just has to run its course with supportive medicine,” she says. “The majority of cases I have seen have done well after a week or so.”

Dr. Steve Reece of Anthony Wayne Animal Hospital says it’s important to remember that viruses are not something that can be easily prevented. “Essentially in all cases, the spread of the virus is prior to symptoms,” he explains. “So a dog is spreading it, and no one knows.”

Some local doggy daycares and boarding kennels have dealt with cases in recent weeks, and are warning clients about it. Vets we spoke with say those facilities do a great job of dealing with this kind of issue as well as disinfecting on a regular basis.

“Daycares are a great benefit to dogs and their owners,” says Dr. Bergstrom. “We have one here at the clinic, and I send one of my dogs to it. They help get your dog exercise and social time. Unfortunately, when something breaks out in those places it is just like human daycare. It runs its course through the animals. Some get it, some don’t.”

Finding out more about this virus would require expensive testing and research. Dr. Bergstrom says that doesn’t seem to be necessary at this point.

“It is not going to change what we do to treat them. It would just be an informative thing. Viruses are viruses, and they have to run their course. And if it is bacterial, we are covering a lot of these dogs with anti-biotics.”

The bottom line is to call your vet, daycare, or boarding kennel with any questions. Keep your dog home from daycare or a kennel if they’re sick, and don’t panic.

“It is a matter of getting treatment. It is not a fatal situation,” says Dr. Reece.

On a side note, the puppy in the picture does not have the virus. Her name is ZuZu. She and her siblings are up for adoption through the Lucas County Pit Crew.

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